This leaking weatherboard single-storey worker's cottage in inner city Melbourne has been transformed into a 7.6 star home.

Working within council site line requirements, the double storey extension has opened up and brought light and warmth deep into the house. Solar hot water and photovoltaic panels are maximised on its meagre 7.2m northern aspect.

The client now enjoys a house that runs on suns' rays for heating and cooling, maximises natural breezes, and sends any excess power back to the grid. All this was done on a palette featuring recycled, and reclaimed materials, with focus on low off gassing and low embodied energy for new material choices.

The extension has given this cottage a new lease of life, and kept it from demolition, to nurture its occupants for many years to come.


  • The building fabric is now well insulated, orientation with living to the north
  • The amount of glazing is optimized for solar gain and shaded from direct sun in summer
  • Casement windows on east and west sides allow the scooping of prevailing southerlies deep into the house in summer
  • Northern clerestory windows on the stairwell invite light into the middle of the ground level, and provide a sky viewing feature in the bathroom upstairs
  • Motorized opening of these clerestory windows allow night purging in summer
  • Recycled brick veneer
  • High density R3.5 blown in foam then fills the studwork in the upper floor to keep the heat out
  • One efficient reverse cycle air conditioner
  • Green switches controlling power point hubs
  • No down lights are used
  • Two 3k litre water tanks are installed to capture 100% roof area collection of rain water
  • Low Embodied Energy materials throughout
  • Healthy materials throughout
  • Environmental timber selection throughout
  • Design to facilitate summer breeze paths & night purging
  • Greywater separation
  • Diverting of the 'cold' hot water to the watertank